Excellent news from Nordland Publishing! A few days ago, I received a message from a blog reader regretting not to be able to order Compass Head directly from her own island-continent, Australia. I relayed the message to my publishers in Norway, who, not only were concerned, but have now made for amends. And they did more.
Now, this geopoetics in action and in full motion. That peerie yoal has already travelled far and wide. Let it reach YOU.
“Row, row your boat” as the tune says…
From now on, dear reader, you can now reach out to Compass Head DIRECTLY from practically WORLDWIDE, including Australia, China, India, Brazil, as well as other amazing places on Earth! So jump on the boat and, fair wind, sailors, and join in all those who have already enjoyed the ADVENTUROUS journey from The Songs from the North 🙂 Just CLICK ON the LINKs!
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Histoire d’amour, love story. Last June I flew to Hordaland to be by their side. In nine days’ time I shall return and reconvene with this other side of the sea. I remember François speaking of belonging to the clan. I know I do, and cannot wait to step out of the plane in Bergen. Somehow it begins to feel like a Viking’s homecoming, hamefarin.
Dear Anita and François, it is on its way to you, and should arrive a day before me. :=)
Always a peculiar feeling when you taste something different.
Hordaland, Bergen, Bryggen, Straume, Krokeide, Fana, Os. This other side of the North Sea, the western fringe of Norway, along my very 60N latitude, I longed to see, feel, taste with my own heart, turned reality at the start of summer.
All this for the wedding of friends. That leap eastwards for an extended weekend flung new doors wide open. A leap that proved more than a mere one. To reconvene with Anita and François felt such a joy, as much as with Catherine and Iris in Bergen for the celebration, unimaginable, only years ago! We, da peerie Shetland contingent, were made so much welcome by our respective hosts. Magic! I had promised Any a beer in Bergen. We crossed the sea together, I would fulfil my promise; and we did just that. Whereas time vanished like lit gun powder, we made the most of it.
Saturday was Anita and François’ Day, and we had fun! Wonderful, multi-lingual ceremony followed by a great party. Though I was conscious this too would be swallowed by time…
To stop the clock when we are connected in the moment is every man’s dream.
How I too wish to hold our planet still for a while… That race against time cannot be won. I left my friends at the barn in Fana to be reunited with another kindred spirit I had not hugged for a good four years. Precious time.
She, like Annbjørg in Straume, offered me her home as a base. Norwegian hospitality feels as warm as on my side of the North Sea. We yarned very late, slept very little, but shared such a precious slice of life.
Sunday inside her fjord, farm and world. I wished for sea eagles, and Ragni gave me so much more.
Magic Sunday found inside blue, the majesty of Heime, the local équivalent of “hame” (home), starting point of a second collection of poetry now in motion.
So much I have found in such a short time spent on the other side of the sea. So fruitful, inspirational, now I know there is a home on either side of the North Sea.
Poetry is flowing, and, for the very first time, in Norwegian too.
It feels a brand new adventure in the making. My heart now beats on both sides.
That journey took time in itself.
Launched virtually on Amazon to let it fly to readers’ hands on 30 March, as if to break a curse (that of losing my grandmother to whom Compass Head is dedicated, among two other generations of mothers) my wish to celebrate it with some very special guests took place on the twentieth day of the fifth month.
And they all answered present.
Local poet, friend & mentor when it comes to the dialect, Laureen Johnson, to whom I feel grateful to put my work in the limelight as early as 2004 inside the New Shetlander, would grace the floor; James Andrew Sinclair, with whom I read, wrote and performed over over a decade; but also a string of weavers of sounds in the names of Alan McKay, Suzanne Briggs, Lewis Hall, and – last but not least – Donald Anderson, singer songwriter & former Literature Development Officer at Shetland Arts. We share a creative story.
They are my compagnons de voyage.
What a great night we gave the audience at the Shetland Library. A total of seventy folk came to the Hillhead. I felt overwhelmed at some stage, and so humble.
Marghie Thompson West, one of our Hillhead librarians, turned mistress of ceremony.
One by one – or in two’s, as Suzanne and Alan joined up to delight us with two classics, La mer, and Les feuilles mortes (Jacques Prévert) or as Alan & Donald duetted with their respective guitars – we entertained with flair and grace.
On this occasion, I wish to thank you, who came to listen to us all; you, who contributed to a fabulous celebration – our Shetland librarians, who homed it, your hospitality, smiles and joie de vivre added to your first-class service. To Margaret for a very special cake that left me breathless (on top of all other goodies you prepared with love).
To Marsaly Taylor for your glowing review in the Shetland Times the week before; to Jane Moncrieff from BBC Radio Shetland (Scotland) & Lawrence Tulloch (Give us a Tune, BBC Radio Shetland) for airing it on the air waves. To Aneta, for your presence, keeping me smiling & hospitality in Lerwick. 🙂
And there is more to come. 🙂
Compass Head is travelling and reaching so many headlands. It is beautiful. Am ever so thankful to my Norway-based publishing house, Nordland Publishing, and James Andrew Murray, their second poet, for believing in my work in the very first place.
Here, here, as appetite is awaken, let me offer you, dear reader, two of them, as conceived and produced by Nordland.
And I do hope you too will find both enticing.
YOU are INVITED 🙂
Come along and enjoy. We will be delighted to have you on the night. Bring a friend or a loved one 🙂
There will be a kaleidoscope of voices, with live music, at our Home of books – and a few nibbles too 🙂
And bring your own copy for me to sign on the night!
We are looking forward to see you.
Out of darkness, the bleakest point from the island, came cobbled thoughts, a flash of ink blended with salt – now nights have cleared, here comes my humble impressions of jackdaw’s blend of geopoetics inside his début collection, Heading North.
“Heading North”, by Andrew James Murray, is the second volume from Nordland Publishing’s Song of the North Series. Its author defines himself as a northern guy with a northern accent and attitude, yet attracted to even more northern latitudes, landscapes and who follows in the tradition of both geographical and inner landscapes – bleaker in places, mysterious and remote. His journey takes us from the comfort of his familiar Manchester world to the Ring of Brodgar on a far away archipelago bathed by both a sea and an ocean, via a myriad of known & unknown places – Berlin, Prague to the cobbled streets of Stromness. But it also takes us across gritty and sometimes wonderfully chiselled inner scapes.
It all begins at midnight in summer.
Blind to great masses / that dance in dark orbits. / And a soft, summer wind. Midnight, July.
There is game of light and dark as poems juxtapose the poet’s mood and sense of place. From the Spanish Hills to Backyard, we meander through light shafts at will to find ourselves in the scarce sunlight.
There is elegance in simplicity,
The sunflower / grows alone,/ […] and a penchant for flattery. Sunflower
And there comes the jackdaw.
The one robed in capes / swooping first over parched soil / and shrivelled roots – from Storm Coming.
Poetics scapes towering contrasts, I love the allieration from Row Mojo,
the bleak blushes of dusk, and from sensuality we find ourselves drinking beyond oblivion, sometimes eating death, tasting ash, eating a father. Brutal and yet poetical.
We are tossed at sea like guillemots inside tides; we know we are heading north. That’s when the zenith turns to twilight. From the dockland to the ocean to reach the realms of the northern lands. As we progress throgh the poet’s journey, we wander though dark lands. And then we hit winter, as we reach ravaged, savage scapes & its dwellers, the crows.
Yet we are tossed between seasons, as we are drawn to the blackbird that emerges with exquisite sensuality, songstress of the twilight / I am lost in your song.
I am sensitive to the poet’s observation of his surroundings, real or not. The raw beauty of a savage sky, in this rugged hour, / a low inter sun / glazes soft… From Savage Sky.
A solitary road, cobbled, winding, / […] engineered perhaps, to break the tumult / of wind and sea … From Stromness. I believe George MacKay Brown would have smiled.
Without a question or a doubt, Andrew James Murray’s poetic collection certainly encompasses key elements of geopoetical dimension, and gives the reader a sense of north. His quest took him as high as Orkney. Elegant in places, harsh and chiselled with flair and savagery in others, Heading North is an invitation to beauty. Very much recommended.
Merci pour ta poésie, mon ami :-).
Jackdaw sings with corvids, the rawness of a northern song, and a blackbird.